I’m back on the bandwagon today. Or back on my high horse. Or back on my soap box. Whatever analogy you want to use, I’m on something. But I’m always on message!
Last week we heard a story of the tragic and just so very sad death of a beautiful little boy with type 1 diabetes. According to media reports, seven year old Aiden Fenton, who had type 1 diabetes, was taken, by his parents, to a hotel in Sydney, where he was denied food and insulin and slapped repeatedly as part of a barbaric treatment meant to cure him of his type 1 diabetes.
This is a tragedy. There is no other word for it.
The theory behind this brutal treatment is that repeatedly slapping the body builds heat, which will allow ‘chi’ to flow which results in toxins to be released. This will, apparently, cure what ails you.
And while this may be the extreme, what we have here is yet another example of ridiculous assertions by people claiming to have an understanding of health and wellbeing. But there is no understanding. There is no science behind these claims. There is no evidence to suggest that they work.
There’s that word again: ‘toxin’. It’s a favourite with many wellness experts and Instagram diet and fitness frauds who seem to have forgotten that the body has a fabulously powerful and clever organ called the liver. They should Google it – they’ll get pictures to go with explanations of the role this organ plays in the body and its connection to ‘toxins’. Pictures like this one:
Thankfully, there are others – many others – much smarter and with much better reach than I asking questions and calling out these dangerous cults.
Yesterday, the CSIRO (I think we can pretty much bet they are all about science) tweeted this.
Yes please; I’ll take one in a 10.
Helen Razer wrote a fabulous (and very swear-y) piece a few weeks ago about the stupidity of the paleo movement and other dangerous messages being regularly expounded by equally dangerous idiots wellness experts. You should read it (language warning again in case those sorts of things offend you.) My favourite line is the caption used under a photo of Pete Evans: ‘Stupid is the new science’. Yes – I want that on a t-shirt, too.
And take a few minutes – well ten and a half – and watch the brilliance of Tim Minchin with this fabulous animated short of his poem ‘Storm’.
Minchin first wrote this as a jazz-backed beat poem for a live show. From there, it was the animated short was made and, most recently, a graphic novel which I’ll be purchasing next time I head to my favourite books store, Readings. You can read how the poem came about in this piece Minchin wrote for The Guardian.
Yes, I know. I keep harping on about the same things. But alternative therapies and the ‘wellness movement’ are responsible for a little boy’s death. They fuel eating disorders, they confuse people, they deliberately and intentionally target the vulnerable who are desperate for answers and cures. And there is no evidence to support that they work in any way. In fact, they harm. A little boy is dead. Just keep thinking about that.